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What drivers said after Coca-Cola 600

The Coca-Cola 600 came down to the final lap after a late restart and two overtime periods at Charlotte, and it was Denny Hamlin in the No. 11 Toyota who emerged victorious.

Here is what drivers had to say after Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600:
Denny Hamlin — Winner: “It’s so special. It’s the last big one that’s not on my résumé. It meant so much. … I’ve been a Coke family driver for 18 years. Never won the Coke 600 before. This means a lot. Man, we weren’t very good all day. Just got ourselves in the right place at the right time. What a battle there. … (On avoiding the last wreck) “I knew that they were all going to drive in way too deep so I actually backed up the corner. I got a good run off because you just never know what can happen and it kind of just played out luckily how I was hoping. Those guys slid in there and they were going to drive in deep and they were on older left side tires. Man, that was a fortunate win for us.”

Kyle Busch — Finished 2nd: “We didn’t have a good enough day to be even in that position, so just a strong fight all night by this M&M’s team. I give honor to those we remember on Memorial Day weekend. I appreciate the opportunity and being able to do that. We had Sergeant Thiem on here with us this weekend. We tried to come with victory lane, and honor him, but unfortunately, one spot short.”

Kevin Harvick — Finished 3rd: “We went to the back five times for bad pit stops too, but everybody on our Mobil 1 Ford Mustang team did a good job. We just kept battling. We had a decent car after I hit the wall I got a lot tighter and then every time we’d make it up, we’d just fall on our face on pit road and go to the back again. We just kept battling. That’s just kind of the name of the game in this particular race because it’s just so long. I knew the attrition was gonna be high.”

Chase Briscoe — Finished 4th: “We’ve obviously struggled really bad the last month and a half and to have a good car like that today and had a car capable of winning and I threw it away, plain and simple. I’m glad we were able to at least get back to fourth. It’s unfortunate. There are 100 different things I would have done differently if I could re-do it again, but obviously you’re racing in the moment and made a mistake and went too far. We’ll come back next week and see if we can cap it off.”

Christopher Bell — Finished 5th: “Really the only reason we got up there was because everyone crashed at the end of the race and gave us an opportunity, but this Yahoo Camry was every bit as capable as the guys that beat us. Disappointing day for sure because I feel like we had something that could contend for the win, but top-five is nothing to hang your head about.”

Tyler Reddick — Finished 6th: “The ups is that we had a lot of speed. The downs are flat tires. It’s pretty straightforward. As far as I know, I don’t think there was anything in particular that we did on that one run with the left rear to cause the flat. I just think with having clean air and being able to exit as wide as possible off of Turn 2 every time – you can kind of exit off that bump in Turn 2 and be able to put the car where you want to. A lot of the bumps are in (Turns) 3 and 4. I’m guessing I just damaged my tire trying to get the most out of our No. 8 Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen Chevrolet. That was frustrating, but we got a lot of stage points. With all of the chaos that happened, we were able to get back to a sixth-place finish. We were able to pass Ricky (Stenhouse Jr.) and Michael McDowell through the turf. There’s no splitter to rip off, so I was able to pass two cars there at the end through the turf coming to the line, which was nice and we came home sixth.”

Michael McDowell — Finished 8th: “We had a really fast FR8 Auction Ford Mustang. Unfortunately, we got too much damage in that wreck, that big pile up when the 6 (Brad Keselowski) spun with somebody. That kind of took a little speed out of our race car, but we did a good job working really hard trying to get the balance back. Then a lot of attrition there at the end. It was a wild race and we got ourselves in position there. I’m proud of everybody. It’s another top 10. We keep clicking them off. We had good speed. We qualified in the top 10 and finished in the top 10 today, so it’s good. It’s good to be disappointed with that. I thought we had a top five coming to the checkered there and got all stacked up there four-wide and got in the fence a little bit, but we’ll take a top 10 and move on to Gateway.”

Kyle Larson — Finished 9th: “The first half was a struggle for all of us, but I was especially frustrated with myself. To rebound from that and have a shot to win there late was something to be proud of. Our team fought really hard, so I’m happy with that. (Chase) Briscoe was really good that long run there. Wish we would have been just a little bit better so he never would have got to me to work really hard and ultimately spin. You’re kind of gambling on tire stuff there. I think we took two to try and get ourselves the front row, which we did. I think the four tires was just a little bit better than me and got to my inside there through Turns 3 and 4. It’s just really tight racing off of 4. The 3 (Austin Dillon) almost had me cleared and we just made contact there and there was a big wreck. Kind of ended my night there. Again, proud of my Hendrick team. Even going back to yesterday and me making a mistake getting into the wall really put ourselves in a bad spot all night. Our pit stall was terrible having to come around the 19 (Martin Truex Jr.) and then the 10 (Aric Almirola) coming around me. The day would have been a lot easier if I just didn’t hit the wall yesterday.”

Joey Logano — Finished 20th: “Hate to finish a race that way. That was a hard hit there. My Shell-Pennzoil team fought all day, kept making the car better throughout the race and we put ourselves in position for a top-five finish at the end and then just got collected there.”

Cole Custer — Finished 21st: “The team did a great job working on the car all night and keeping up with the track. I was really happy with what we had and it felt like we had made big gains and turned things around. I felt like we had a good shot at the end, but it just ended up that we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I really can’t wait to get to the track next weekend. We’re moving in the right direction and I’ve always loved racing at Gateway.”

Noah Gragson — Finished 24th: “We had a really good day overall and had some fun driving in the top 10 with our No. 16 Charlotte Knights Camaro ZL1. I got into the wall and had to pit for tires, which put us down a couple laps. We thought we could get back on the lead lap, but we had a parts failure that ultimately ended our day. It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t quite make it to the end, but we had a fast car and I think we made some gains.”

Daniel Suarez — Finished 25th: “I just got tight. With these cars, clean air is very important. They were side-by-side in front of me. I was fine in front and eventually I got in the middle of the wake and I got super tight. I put myself in a bad situation there. It was just a tough situation. I’m just glad Chris (Buescher) is fine. My team has been building rockets. We had the best car out there. It was a struggle for us on pit road. Not my guys, but the situation where we were in with the 22 (Joey Logano) and the 11 (Denny Hamlin). We have to learn from it and come back stronger.”

Chris Buescher — Finished 26th: “We just got caught up in it with our Fifth Third Bank Mustang. Our team did a really nice job and made some huge gains through the weekend. I’m really proud of them. We had a good race car. We drove all the way into the top 10 and just got back a little bit there and got around cars that really hadn’t been and got caught up in a wreck. It’s unfortunate. It’s not ideal by any means. I’m gonna be a bit sore tomorrow. I haven’t been upside-down in a really long time. The team did a really nice job. We had great speed and had a chance at this thing, it just didn’t work out. I do appreciate (the safety crew) for helping me and setting it back over again, so thank you to everybody working for not slamming it back. It was nice to be able to get out. The blood is rushing to your head a little bit. I guess I could have pulled the belts and fallen right to the ground, but figured I’d just wait on them.”

Justin Haley — Finished 27th: “Our No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Camaro ZL1 was difficult to manage all day. We fought the car being extremely tight and having little front direction. Unfortunately, our day ended early due to engine troubles. We will move on to St. Louis!”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 29th: “I was tucked up tight behind (Tyler Reddick) and he was kind of lower than I thought on the frontstretch and kind of ran through the turf. Then got to (Turn 1) and jerked right and I think he was up behind (Daniel Suarez) and thinking he was gonna hit that apron and I didn’t have time to kind of get right and I just kind of hit the apron and got me loose. I hate that other cars got tore up. I just didn’t really know where I was at being close to him and you kind of see that sometimes. I just hate that it tore us up”

Brad Keselowski — Finished 30th: “Something happened where Blaney got turned and I saw it and checked up and got wiped out from behind. I hate it for everybody at RFK. We unloaded and weren’t very good and we finally got the car good the run before this. We were driving forward and making passes and were almost into the top 10 and then get wrecked. We just can’t seem to catch a break.”

Kurt Busch — Finished 31st: “We had a winning top-five Monster Energy Toyota Camry TRD, we did. Just was hoping we would have enough tires to get to the end and the sequences that everyone was on. Billy Scott’s (crew chief) a great leader. We’ve wrecked a lot of cars this year and we were just wrong place, wrong time this year. Bubba (Wallace) was in front of me and tried not to hit him. I think I hit about 15 different things. And I tried to crank it up and was like, ‘Nah, she’s done.’ This is a rough situational event. Fast car and I’m really proud of my guys. I’ll be at the shop on Tuesday helping them tear it down.”

William Byron — Finished 32nd: “I thought we were in the catbird seat there. We were the first team on new tires. Had a good restart through (turn) one and got ahead of the No. 45 (Kurt Busch). We were going to cycle out really well there; and then they just started wrecking on the bottom and came up into us on the top.”It sucks. It’s chaos out there. You can’t drive the car the slightest bit sideways or you’re wrecked. So, if somebody gets a little bit sideways, then we all wreck. It either takes out other people or they spin to the infield. Just chaos.”

Austin Cindric Finished 34th: “We cut a left-rear tire down right on corner entry. There was absolutely no warning and unfortunately that was the lap I decided to run the bottom, so a long distance to the wall and a pretty hard hit. We had a really, really fast Menards/Cardell Ford Mustang. I was having fun. We had a fast car and fast cars usually climb up through the field running the top and running the bottom. It’s just unfortunate.”